The Change of Metamorphosis in Blue by Duy Huynh
by Cassidy Carr
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Wayne Dyer
Metamorphosis in Blue, a surrealist painting by Duy Huynh, is of a pale, young woman with darker colored hair wearing a dress made of bright blue butterflies with a waxing crescent moon above her head on a darkened and blurry outdoor background of the sky and what looks to be a lake with a tree line reflected in it. For me, many of the objects in this painting symbolize positive change, which is what I believe the overall theme is, and the three objects that I think symbolize this theme the best are the young woman who looks as though she is in her late teens to early twenties, the bright blue butterflies that cloak her and float around her shoulders, and the waxing crescent moon above the young woman’s head. I consider all three of these items to be symbols of positive change.
Positive change can come in many forms, such as the transition from child to adult that is symbolized by the young woman. She is pale and slender, with messy dark hair tied back in a bun, and has a bright red flower tucked behind her ear. I believe she looks rather young, in her late teens to early twenties at the oldest. She has her body faced away, as if she is turning her back on the past, ready to take the next steps forward in her life, though she still looks back with a downcast gaze that, in my opinion, is very bittersweet but accepting, as if she is remembering and seeing the memories from the past that she is sad to leave behind but she knows that she has to continue moving forward. Age is kind of like that. I cannot stop aging just because I want to stay in a happy memory from the past, you know? No one can. Just like the woman in the painting, we have to keep moving forward, and change with the times.
The butterflies that make up her dress seem to be doing the same thing. They surround her, but a few have drifted off behind her left shoulder into the sky, as if they are starting to migrate elsewhere, adding their color to another place and time. The woman seems sad and a little disappointed to see her little friends go, but I can also see acceptance on her face and in her body language, as though she knows that this goodbye, although sad, is a natural thing that has to happen. Butterflies are one of those things in nature that truly is an example of change. They start as a cute little caterpillar with no wings that just eats leaves and plant matter all day, then they wrap themselves up in a cozy little cocoon, and when they break free, out pops this beautiful winged creature that hardly resembles its previous self and is ready to fly within the day. They go through this metamorphosis in such a natural way, just like humans and aging. They cannot stop the aging process any more than we can, and why would they? They have such a positive change from caterpillar to butterfly. This is what makes them such a beautiful symbol of ever-changing things, just like the moon.
The moon is constantly changing with its phases, as each night, it either gains a little light or loses a little. Each and every phase of the moon means something different, but each has a recurring meaning revolving around change. The specific phase in this painting is a waxing crescent moon, meaning that it has started gaining its light again after the last new moon but has not come close to being full, or even half full. In some cultures, specifically Wiccan culture, the waxing crescent moon is a symbol of bringing happy thoughts and positive changes into your life. For example, many Wiccans cast charms for happiness and prosperity, and sometimes love spells, on nights that have some form of the waxing moon, in order to draw in positivity to strengthen these charms and spells. I believe this meaning of positive change is exactly what the artist was trying to convey with the moon phase that was chosen. The waxing crescent moon ties in so well with the other symbols and objects in this painting, most of them being some type of symbol of change or metamorphosis, that it really throws a positive light on everything, even while some people see change as a negative thing.
Change can be either a positive or a negative thing. As Morticia Addams said, “What is normal for the spider, is chaos for the fly.” Just because something changes, it does not mean that we have to be sad about it, nor does it mean that we cannot look back on the past and on our memories. The woman, the butterflies, and the moon all reflect this perfectly, summing up the main theme of Duy Huynh’s Metamorphosis in Blue: change.